LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines, partners in the LATAM Airlines Group, have built a physical representation of their partnership and the extended global market reach that partnership creates with the largest VIP lounge in South America, located on the 4th and 5th floors of the western sector of Santiago’s International Airport in Chile.
The two airlines, one Chilean, the other Brazilian, have undergone an organizational harmonization since the group was founded in 2012. This union has revolved around an integration of two nationalities and different languages while maintaining independent, collaborative operations.
Under the leadership of chairman Mauricio Rolim Amaro, who was former vice-chairman of TAM, and CEO Enrique Cueto, former LAN CEO, the two companies have taken advantage of synergies that benefit both airlines while at the same time seeking respect for their independent roots.
This blending of traditions and cultures permeate the new Santiago lounge. Jerome Cadier, VP of Marketing at LATAM Airlines Group, says the newly inaugurated lounge is intended to give frequent fliers an elegant and exclusive space to relax, and that the design was crafted to reflect the varied colors, textures, and flavors of South America.
The design process itself was a melding of cultures and perspectives. The Group hired South American interior designer Mathias Klotz, of Chile, to execute the project meeting the vision of its architect, Lillian Allen, and the global concept by the Paris-based Studio Putman.
With two floors accessible by elevators or stairs, the lounge covers an area of more 23,000 square feet and accommodates 460 guests.
Modern, and in line with global architectural trends for interior and luxury design, the lounge takes characteristic elements from each region to reflect the continent’s natural heritage.
The spaces incorporate elements that vary by country of origin, shapes, textures, and materials with natural tones, enlivened by bold prints and spots of bright colors. The aim of the design is to communicate a local atmosphere in a global setting.
Marble, onyx and leather, and wood shine in the ample natural light and windows get a unique vantage of the airport. A 750 square-foot copper structure fixed to the side of the stairs, which lead to the second floor, is emblematic of Chile, representing the region’s native culture.
Facilities include 28 individual restrooms, 10 showers, laundry and shoe-shining services, a sleeping room, and a chaise lounge for rest and relaxation and other furnishings from the studio of Andrée Putman, carpeting by Brinton. Tables and chairs are equipped with outlets.
For those who want to catch up with friends, or need to get a bit of work done between flights, there is free Wi-Fi throughout the lounge and a business center. Those who prefer leisure can enjoy the entertainment room equipped with tablets and a video game zone.
Passengers who feel are feeling hungry can visit the 1,500-square foot kitchen, which includes a 180-foot long buffet area. On offer is a selection of dozens of hot and cold dishes. To drink, the lounge offers its guests a variety of beverages, including a collection of the best regional wines, Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne, and hot beverages from Juan Valdez.
The lounge will be staffed by 46 LATAM employees.
“We understand the needs of the modern passenger and seek to meet these demands with the best solutions and services the industry has to offer,” says Cadier. “This is the fourth VIP lounge LATAM Airlines Group has inaugurated in the last two years, a huge step towards consolidating our presence and the quality of our services at airports in the region.”
The airline group has also targeted the experience of its high-revenue passengers by connecting the premium check-in counters of both LAN and TAM, over an area of over 6,000 square-feet, with 14 exclusive check-in counters and self-service kiosks, and direct access to the new lounge.